Tim Horlings, celery grower, Newmarket, Ontario

This truck load of freshly cut celery is destined for a food processing plant near Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. Holland Marsh grower Tim Horlings says that the eight-hour haul from Newmarket Ontario to the U.S. is the last stage of six months of tender care from seedling to soup. 

Amanda Dooney, farm manager for Suncrest Orchards, shares the challenges of a pandemic year and how she’s making life better for Jamaican temporary foreign workers thinning apples near Simcoe, Ontario. She’s promised new bunkhouse quarters in time for harvest 2021.  

Nothing has been easy at EZ Grow Farms for the last pandemic year. And yet, pre-laid plans to expand the footprint of the strawberry plant propagation greenhouse has come to fruition near Langton, Ontario. Dusty Zamecnik is riding a revolution that’s taken the Ontario greenhouse strawberry industry from 50 to 120 acres in the last two years. 

Photo taken pre-pandemic by Glenn Lowson.

The global pandemic continues to have many local impacts, from the ballooning costs of housing temporary foreign workers during the 14-day quarantine to short supplies of wooden pallets. One spot of good news is the vaccination clinic at the Ontario Food Terminal where just under 6,900 frontline workers, agri-business staff and immediate families were vaccinated in May. This young worker is scooping up bundles of fresh rhubarb to fulfill an order at the terminal’s farmers’ market. 

For growers Dino Mastronardi, left and son Dean Mastronardi, right, the day-to-day Leamington, ON operations for the Topline brand of English cucumbers are all-consuming. It’s the job of Dino DiLaudo, centre, to be aware of opportunities and threats in the marketplace in his role of VP, sales and marketing for Westmoreland Sales. About 25% of their cucumber crop is destined for the U.S. where the International Trade Commission is examining the impact of imported cucumbers on seasonal markets.

In recent years, the mergers of global crop protection companies promised robust R & D pipelines.  But the reality is that fewer products and label extensions will come to horticulture. That’s because there’s a bottleneck of reduced trial capacity at the Pest Management Centre says apple grower Charles Stevens, Newcastle, ON. 

 

John Molenhuis, business analysis and cost-of-production specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) worked with the grape, tender fruit and apple groups for years, updating baseline measurements every five years that compare the average of the group to the top 25. 

Events by invitation-only became the norm in 2020 as the pandemic curbed in-person contact. The impacts of COVID-19 on research, new product launches and extension efforts will be felt for years to come. 

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